Navigating Nursery as an Additional Support Needs Parent.
My heart is exploding with pride and worry simultaneously.
This week you start nursery. I watch as you run in to the setting filled with joy. My heart breaking, not knowing if you understand what this all means, or that I’m not going to be there to help you here.
I’ve known this day was coming for a long time, but that time just went by too fast. I promised myself that I would be ready for it. That WE would be ready for it. But I’m not – and when I take time to think about it, I realise I never will be. I can’t help but feel that this is a step towards losing you, the first in many steps towards your independence. So, I am filled with so many emotions – pride, love, sadness but right now most of all, fear.
We worked so hard together during the summer. I pretended this wasn’t happening. I silenced my sadness because I realised that this transition is not about me. It is all about YOU. So, we ran, played, sang and danced! You found new words and sounds, and started to engage with us on a level I had previously only dreamed off. All in preparation for this step, but now it’s here… I’m not ready to let go.
I am filled with gratitude that I have been able to spend the first 3 years of your life by your side and helping you grow. I have been right there with you, holding your hand, and making sure that in every moment you have felt loved, accepted, beautiful and perfect.
So now it feels hard to let go of your hand and trust it to someone else. I feel drained holding it all together, trying to be strong for both of us, willing myself to have faith. Wanting to believe in you, and your new teachers. But my head is racing with so many questions. Will they take care of you? Will they listen when you don’t talk – will they let you have a voice? Will you feel understood, safe, supported and accepted? Will they help you to participate? Will they encourage you or try and change you?
But most of all – will they see your sparkle? Will they see your magic? Will they love you like you deserve? Will they let you shine? Will they see YOU, or just see autism?
I know it can be difficult for mainstream schools trying to accommodate children with additional support needs. I’ve heard stories of children who have been resented in class due to their needs. They are seen as a hindrance and that isn’t okay. All I want is for them to WANT you and welcome you. For them to see the wonder you bring to this world, and for you to be able to teach them everything you have taught me.
My heart feels so conflicted with each layer of this transition. I want you to fit in, but I don’t want you to conform. I want you to be true to you, but how is that possible in a environment full of rules/expectations/norms that don’t align with YOU as an individual. Should they treat you differently? Is that right or wrong? But I can’t control everything, and everyone.
When I can’t sleep, and am full of fear I try to remind myself…
What if you EXCEL?
What if you like it there?
What if they accept you and allow you to grow?
What if I underestimate your resilience?
I know, I have to take a leap of faith. This is always going to be a difficult thing for any mother. And deep in my heart of hearts I know that you will dazzle them all. We just have to let them see – really SEE!
At the end of the day, my pain doesn’t matter, your happiness does. I am taking this step with you my love. If you are unhappy, if you don’t feel at ease, we will find something or somewhere that gives you these things. There is no wrong. This is all a process of discovering our own path and journey, and this is our path – for now.
Share your heart and your true self darling. You will open their eyes and their minds.
I love you.